Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Foucault & Religion
What consequences has Michel Foucault’s thought had for the study of religion?

March 10-11, 2017 | Swift Common Room and Lecture Hall

For more information, contact conference organizers Daniel Schultz ( or Maureen Kelly (

This two-day conference will bring scholars from a range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences into a conversation about Foucault and religion.

How has Foucault’s thought contributed to the formation of “religion” as an object of inquiry in different fields? What are the points of contact between practices of the self (spiritual exercises) and the anthropology of ethics?

How do empirical studies of religious and spiritual practices provoke us to rethink Foucault’s corpus?

In what ways do genealogies of the secular trade on Foucault’s analysis of power-knowledge and his use of the concept of critique?

What productive tensions are generated by interdisciplinary appropriations of Foucauldian concepts and critical-genealogical methodologies?

The “and” in the conference’s title intends to evoke a number of possible conjunctures between the two stated themes: the significance of religion within Foucault’s conceptual architecture, as well as the ways in which Foucault’s work has recast anthropological, sociological, and historical discourses on religion as an object of knowledge.

Sponsored by the Martin Marty Center at the Divinity School, the Lichtstern Foundation, the France Chicago Center, the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge, the Philosophy of Religions Workshop, the Graduate Council, and the Divinity Students Association.

9:30-10:00         Coffee
10:00                 Welcome Remarks and Introduction to keynote speaker:

Arnold I. Davidson, University of Chicago

10:15-12:15         Keynote by Daniele Lorenzini, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne / Columbia University: “
Pleasures, Desire, Concupiscence: The Christian Chapter of Foucault’s History of Sexuality”

Dawn Herrera Helphand, University of Chicago
Steve CollinsUniversity of Chicago

12:15-13:15        Lunch for conference participants

13:15-14:45        Panel 1: Ethics, Self-transformation, and Political resistance 

Jonathan SchoferUniversity of Texas at Austin: “Foucault’s Ethics, the Present Day, and Deuteronomy Rabbah”

Daniel Wyche, University of Chicago: “The Practice of Dignity: The Care of the Self, Relations of Power, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott”

Respondent(s): Maureen KellyUniversity of Chicago

14:45-15:15        Coffee break

15:15-16:45        Panel 2: Askesis and the Spirituality of Thought

Jim FaubionRice University: “The Indecorous Ascetic”

Ann BurleinHofstra University: “A Passion of/for the Unlivable: Raymond Roussel and the Spirituality of Thought”

Daniel SchultzUniversity of Chicago
Xiao-bo YuanUniversity of Chicago

16:45-18:00        Reception, Swift Hall, 1st Floor, Common Room

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: